Big Bear Solar Observatory Tour

The nearby Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) is home to the world's largest solar telescope - the New Solar Telescope (NST). The NST is a 1.6 meter off-axis Gregorian telescope situated in Big Bear Lake at the end of a causeway. BBSO accommodates several spectro-polarimeters covering the visible through the cryogenic infrared regime. The NST features a state of the art classical solar AO system with a 357 actuator DM and a correlating Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor with 308 subapertures, running at 2 kHz. The icing on the cake is the MCAO system that deploys three DMs and that is set up in a flexible pathfinder configuration that has already shown impressive results utilizing nineteen guide regions. This tour will give you the chance to see a telescope that is special in all aspects.

There is a glitch and we cannot have the tour on Wednesday at noon, as planned. Please read this message from Phil Goode:


Very recently and much to our regret, Caltrans has announced that CA18 will be closed between Snow Valley and the Big Bear Dam from Oct. 12th to 29th during weekdays from 8 am to 4 pm for road work and rock scaling.

We have tried hard to get a special permit for a convoy of cars directly from Caltrans and even have had the City of Big Bear Lake asking them for permits. Unfortunately, Caltrans says there will be no exceptions due to dangerous nature of the works they are doing.

The alternate routes through Apple Valley or CA38 via Redlands are very long and don't fit into the conference schedule. So it seems like the tours are not going to happen as planned. However, since quite a few people have been signing up for the tours, we are open to give the tours in an evening. What do you think?

We need to close the aperture shortly after 3 pm these days, and therefore even if the weather would allow, there will be no sunlight in the telescope, but I'm sure the tours will still be enjoyable. So the new time doesn't really matter to us and could be before or after dinner. We will try a artificial light source to illustrate MCAO.


====> We will try to arrange alternative times for the tours.

Here are the people who have already signed up: